March 5, 2021
by Elena Aivaliklis, DMD4 Student McGill University, President of Women in Dentistry Montreal Chapter
What does it mean to be a woman in dentistry? It means that I acknowledge those that came before me and paved the way for me to be able to graduate from dental school in a cohort of which half the students are women. While we have come so far, we still are presented with a unique set of challenges. Whether it’s balancing owning a practice and having a family or trying to achieve leadership positions, the overall experience of being a dentist as a woman is just different.
What does it mean to be a woman in dentistry? This is a question I asked myself many times over my last four years as a dental student. It was the question that drove me to meet one of my mentors: Dr. Effie Habsha, a prosthodontist in Toronto and the founder of Women in Dentistry. Work. Life. Balance. One message on Instagram soon became a series of phone conversations and zoom calls leading to the launch of the Montreal Chapter of Women in Dentistry. It was very important to me to share the incredible Women in Dentistry community with the city of Montreal. My goal is to create a supportive network geared towards inspiring women to pursue their personal and professional goals through various events and the mentorship program.
What does it mean to be a woman in dentistry? It means that we find strength in numbers and as a community of women, we are unstoppable. As women, we often feel the need to “have it all” but that doesn’t mean that we have to do it alone. I would not be where I am today without the strong women in my life, particularly my close group of friends in dental school with whom I have shared all of the highs and lows. They have inspired me to take on many leadership roles and to advocate for women in our profession. I am proud to be a woman in dentistry and I encourage all young women to shoot for the stars and never settle for anything less.
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